The summer of wide receiver contracts continued Thursday when the Pittsburgh Steelers gave fourth-year wideout Diontae Johnson a new three-year deal, the team announced Thursday.
Details of Johnson's contract weren't made public, but NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the deal is a two-year extension on his previous contract and worth $36.71 million with $27 million guaranteed and $19 million in Year 1.
Johnson, 26, is coming off the first 100-reception, 1,000-yard season of his career after catching 107 passes for 1,161 yards for the Steelers in 2021. He has 254 career receptions for 2,764 yards and 20 touchdowns in 47 games.
What's striking about Johnson's new contract is how short it is compared with the other wideouts who signed massive deals this summer.
Other 2019 draft classmates like Terry McLaurin, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel earned bigger paydays, but longer contracts. So while Johnson will average $18.355 million in average annual salary over the next two seasons, he'll have the opportunity to sign another — and potentially more lucrative extension — after the 2024 season.
The NFL already saw the receiver mark skyrocket this summer after the Miami Dolphins signed Tyreek Hill for $30 million a year and the Las Vegas Raiders handed Davante Adams a deal worth $28 million per year, and the price for a top-flight wideout should explode when Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase need new contracts in the coming years.
That's an enticing possibility for a young pass-catcher whose numbers have improved every year he's been in the league. Granted, this season will be Johnson's first without Ben Roethlisberger under center, but he'll still play on an offense that features a bevy of playmakers including running back Najee Harris and fellow wideouts Chase Claypool and George Pickens.
Johnson is betting on himself — as well as the pattern of NFL contracts for his position.